It was a heartbreaking scene in the courtroom when two children-survivor testified against their abusive parents in a case dubbed as the “horror house” case in California. Amid the emotional atmosphere of the process, a therapy dog named Raider wholeheartedly provided support and comfort to the two children as they addressed the defendants – their parents.

Raider’s presence decreased the feeling of tension and distraught of Joshua and Jennifer Turpin when they read the victim impact statements during the reading of sentence for the past week. In the tormenting week that occurred, the siblings recalled and told the judge their experience of torture and starvation inflicted to them by none other than their parents. They, together with their other 11 siblings, have suffered years of deprivation from the hands of their father, David, and their mother, Louise within their Californian home.

Althroughout the complicated process of Joshua and Jennifer’s testimony, raider stayed beside them and offered in the best of his ability, the much-needed comfort that the siblings need. The siblings were grateful with raider’s presence and took turns in petting him. The support that the 3-year old Labrador has extended to the youngsters assured them that of their safety, and they are not alone in their battle.

The horrific stories mentioned by the children regarding the abuse they have suffered included them being chained to their beds, being beaten, and deprived of food. These led to the inferior status of their health. They were also only allowed to take a shower once in a year.

Joshua read in his statement, “What we went through growing up is still beyond my understanding. It gives me nightmares. I want us to be able to move on and begin a new life.” Jennifer added, “We want to take the life that our parents took from us. I am confident that we will be able to put back the pieces that they have broken within us because we are all fighters, we are survivors.”

Having Raider inside the courtroom where the dramatic scene unfolded was the much-needed equalizer for the children. “He can make people feel better. He can reach out to them. He puts into realization the officers and public safety staff’s goal to do just that.”, Police Sgt. Adam Roulston, handler of raider, stated. “We are hoping that Raider will be able to serve more people and make them feel that they have someone whom they can turn to.

The parents of the children pled guilty to 14 felonies and were rightfully sentenced to life imprison.

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